What award-winning talent acquisition looks like


In today’s competitive market, creativity in recruitment pays dividends. Here, SEEK Talent Acquisition Recognition (STAR) Award winners break down their highly successful projects.

Most recruitment systems require a candidate to submit a one-off application for a specific role at a particular time. 

However, law firm Gilbert + Tobin – winner of Talent Acquisition Team of the Year (under 1000 employees) in the STAR Awards 2021 – wanted something different. The organisation often needs, at very short notice, the casual, part-time or project-based assistance of paralegals and law students. 

What was required was a database of talent, one that could be updated quickly and easily by the applicants to ensure their experience, qualifications, availability and other relevant information was always current.

The firm’s previous methods either utilised recruitment agencies, or required manual trawling through a list of past applicants, contacting each one to see if they were available, and potentially spending money on advertising to find new applicants. 

With Gilbert + Tobin’s new web-based platform, called People On Demand (POD), most of this has been automated or replaced by more efficient processes. Best of all, POD gives HR more time to do what they do best, automating the low-value, repetitive work.

Talent on tap

“The most important part of POD is that candidates can update their profile throughout the university semester, constantly letting us know how they have improved and what their availability is,” says Karine McAuliffe, Head of Talent Acquisition at Gilbert + Tobin. 

“Second, we had specific questions to ask them about their grades and their previous experience, which has allowed us to simplify the screening process.

“Finally, we linked POD in with our video interviewing platform, so we didn’t have to bring people into the office to interview them. This saved us a huge amount of face-to-face interviewing time and was far more convenient for the candidates too. It means they can complete the interview on their mobile devices between classes, for example.”

Having previously spent up to two weeks putting together a project team, Gilbert + Tobin can now mobilise within three to five days. In fact, it often achieves its goal within 24 hours. 

POD now holds up-to-date details of many students and paralegals who are keen to take on project work. It’s an immediate, dynamic talent pool, ready to be tapped at a moment’s notice.

Thinking outside the pool

Lifestyle Solutions is a national, not-for-profit provider of services to those with disabilities as well as children and young people who are in out-of-home care. They won Best Candidate Experience Initiative in the STAR Awards 2021 against tough competition, proving that winning isn’t about the size of the company, but about the ingenuity and effectiveness of the talent acquisition team.

So what challenge did Lifestyle Solutions overcome? For several years there has been a growing need for more workers in the health care and social assistance space, meaning there are a lot of job openings for a relatively small talent pool.

The talent acquisition team at Lifestyle Solutions, led by Chief People Officer, Maria Steel, saw little point in battling for a slice of this constantly shrinking pie. Instead, they searched for talent that might not have typical levels of experience, but did have the right values and behaviours. 

“We wanted to attract newcomers to this industry,” says Caro Bryant, Senior Talent Specialist. “But they’d have to be the right types of people.”

The first part of the project saw the team undertaking a process of discovery with specialist HR consultancy The Safari Group to ensure they had an accurate definition of what makes for a fantastic support worker. Then, with the assistance of talent solutions company Talegent, they developed what they call their ‘Workforce Profiling Tool’.

“We developed a competency cluster and a support worker success profile,” says Bryant. “It developed into an online tool with two parts.”

The first part, the values assessment, is an engaging and immersive, six-minute experience that gives the applicant insight into exactly what is involved in the role of a support worker. At the same time, it allows Lifestyle Solutions to get to know the applicant’s values.

The second part, a video interview consisting of five or six short, pre-recorded questions by a member of the talent team, was developed to assess motivational fit, compliance, customer focus, problem solving and communication.

During 2021, over 4000 candidates utilised the tool, with a 91 per cent completion rate. This resulted in the employment of around 500 support workers – an astounding outcome in a tough talent market.

“A lot of these people came from outside the industry,” says Bryant. “We have to be selective because we’re looking after some of society’s most vulnerable people. We want to make sure we’re bringing on the very best talent.”

Entry into the STAR Awards is a straightforward process, with simple submission requirements based on answering questions about the initiative your team has undertaken. The fair and balanced judging process is focused on rewarding the best of the best. All submissions are assessed by an anonymous two-stage judging panel made up of some of Australia’s leading HR, TA and business professionals. 

So if your HR team has done remarkable work, why not show it to the world?

If you have a talent acquisition project that’s innovative and successful, enter the 2022 STAR Awards. To be inspired by previous STAR Award winners, check out some of their success stories.

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What award-winning talent acquisition looks like


In today’s competitive market, creativity in recruitment pays dividends. Here, SEEK Talent Acquisition Recognition (STAR) Award winners break down their highly successful projects.

Most recruitment systems require a candidate to submit a one-off application for a specific role at a particular time. 

However, law firm Gilbert + Tobin – winner of Talent Acquisition Team of the Year (under 1000 employees) in the STAR Awards 2021 – wanted something different. The organisation often needs, at very short notice, the casual, part-time or project-based assistance of paralegals and law students. 

What was required was a database of talent, one that could be updated quickly and easily by the applicants to ensure their experience, qualifications, availability and other relevant information was always current.

The firm’s previous methods either utilised recruitment agencies, or required manual trawling through a list of past applicants, contacting each one to see if they were available, and potentially spending money on advertising to find new applicants. 

With Gilbert + Tobin’s new web-based platform, called People On Demand (POD), most of this has been automated or replaced by more efficient processes. Best of all, POD gives HR more time to do what they do best, automating the low-value, repetitive work.

Talent on tap

“The most important part of POD is that candidates can update their profile throughout the university semester, constantly letting us know how they have improved and what their availability is,” says Karine McAuliffe, Head of Talent Acquisition at Gilbert + Tobin. 

“Second, we had specific questions to ask them about their grades and their previous experience, which has allowed us to simplify the screening process.

“Finally, we linked POD in with our video interviewing platform, so we didn’t have to bring people into the office to interview them. This saved us a huge amount of face-to-face interviewing time and was far more convenient for the candidates too. It means they can complete the interview on their mobile devices between classes, for example.”

Having previously spent up to two weeks putting together a project team, Gilbert + Tobin can now mobilise within three to five days. In fact, it often achieves its goal within 24 hours. 

POD now holds up-to-date details of many students and paralegals who are keen to take on project work. It’s an immediate, dynamic talent pool, ready to be tapped at a moment’s notice.

Thinking outside the pool

Lifestyle Solutions is a national, not-for-profit provider of services to those with disabilities as well as children and young people who are in out-of-home care. They won Best Candidate Experience Initiative in the STAR Awards 2021 against tough competition, proving that winning isn’t about the size of the company, but about the ingenuity and effectiveness of the talent acquisition team.

So what challenge did Lifestyle Solutions overcome? For several years there has been a growing need for more workers in the health care and social assistance space, meaning there are a lot of job openings for a relatively small talent pool.

The talent acquisition team at Lifestyle Solutions, led by Chief People Officer, Maria Steel, saw little point in battling for a slice of this constantly shrinking pie. Instead, they searched for talent that might not have typical levels of experience, but did have the right values and behaviours. 

“We wanted to attract newcomers to this industry,” says Caro Bryant, Senior Talent Specialist. “But they’d have to be the right types of people.”

The first part of the project saw the team undertaking a process of discovery with specialist HR consultancy The Safari Group to ensure they had an accurate definition of what makes for a fantastic support worker. Then, with the assistance of talent solutions company Talegent, they developed what they call their ‘Workforce Profiling Tool’.

“We developed a competency cluster and a support worker success profile,” says Bryant. “It developed into an online tool with two parts.”

The first part, the values assessment, is an engaging and immersive, six-minute experience that gives the applicant insight into exactly what is involved in the role of a support worker. At the same time, it allows Lifestyle Solutions to get to know the applicant’s values.

The second part, a video interview consisting of five or six short, pre-recorded questions by a member of the talent team, was developed to assess motivational fit, compliance, customer focus, problem solving and communication.

During 2021, over 4000 candidates utilised the tool, with a 91 per cent completion rate. This resulted in the employment of around 500 support workers – an astounding outcome in a tough talent market.

“A lot of these people came from outside the industry,” says Bryant. “We have to be selective because we’re looking after some of society’s most vulnerable people. We want to make sure we’re bringing on the very best talent.”

Entry into the STAR Awards is a straightforward process, with simple submission requirements based on answering questions about the initiative your team has undertaken. The fair and balanced judging process is focused on rewarding the best of the best. All submissions are assessed by an anonymous two-stage judging panel made up of some of Australia’s leading HR, TA and business professionals. 

So if your HR team has done remarkable work, why not show it to the world?

If you have a talent acquisition project that’s innovative and successful, enter the 2022 STAR Awards. To be inspired by previous STAR Award winners, check out some of their success stories.

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Inline Feedbacks
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More on HRM